Grand Cards: September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Let's Make It Two!

The magic number is down to two. Let's recap the night's key moments, shall we?

The Tigers, down 2-0 after the top of the first, can't afford to let this game slip away. With two men on in the 2nd:

2009 Upper Deck#645 Brandon Inge

Double. Tie ball game. Ramon Santiago follows it up with a 2 RBI single to put the Tigers in the lead. But Ramon wasn't finished there. He decides to become Mr. Sparkplug in the 5th.

2009 Upper Deck #638 Ramon Santiago

A huge bunt for a base hit, that required that he slide into first base set the stage. A hit and run with Polanco worked flawlessly as nobody covered the steal and Polanco singled right up the middle. A Clete Thomas walk set the stage for Miguel Cabrera. With the light of a thousand suns, our savior...

2009 Upper Deck #SQ-19 Miguel Cabrera Starquest

popped up on the first pitch. 2 outs, and what was shaping up to look like a patented Detroit Tigers squandered opportunity. Oh, but hey, remember this guy?

2009 Upper Deck #643 Magglio Ordonez

Two out, bases clearing double. 7-2 Tigers.

Scoreless relief pitching for the last four preserved the lead. The Tigers lead the Central by 3 with 4 to play. They could clinch tomorrow against the Twins. Or by winning any two of their last four. Or if Zach Greinke beats the Twins on Saturday and the Tigers pull one out anywhere. What a difference a day makes, as there appear to be glimmers of light and the end of the tunnel.


Sometimes, everything just comes together.

Curtis has a four game hit streak.
2009 Goodwin Champions #102 Curtis Granderson

And four straight multi-hit games.
2009 Goodwin Champions #102 Curtis Granderson Mini

And four straight games with extra base hits.
2009 Goodwin Champions #102 Curtis Granderson Black Mini (Gypsy Queen Back)

And four straight games with an RBI and a Run.
2009 Goodwin Champions #GCM-CG Curtis Granderson

If I didn't know better, I'd say that four was the Tigers' magic number.

These are my first four Curtis Granderson cards from Goodwin Champions, a set that only features four Tigers in its base set. On a non-four related note, Curtis hit two home runs yesterday, one in each end of a doubleheader, to give him 30 on the season...which puts him fourth among AL outfielders in that category. Oh, I guess that does tie in. Did I mention that this is only Curtis' fourth full major league season? Cosmos, align yourselves.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Justin's Turn

The lead is down to one, despite Porcello doing just about everything he could.

At 7:05 tonight, it is up to Justin Verlander keep the Tigers alone at the top of the AL Central.

"Pleased as punch" is out the window, but let's end the night with some satisfaction.

It All Comes Down To This

I can feel one of three ways tonight: pleased as punch, satisfied or mortified.

I'm hoping that Porcello and Verlander can do their darndest to keep it from being the last one. So off we go, into what is probably the most meaningful double header of my lifetime, or at least in my memory.

Here's for a happy day at Comerica Park.

2009 UD A Piece Of History #SS-CG Curtis Granderson "Stadium Scenes" (#186/999)

The season is in your hands, dudes. Tigers fans worldwide wanted me to repeat that. The season is in your hands.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Curtis Granderson Into The Record Books

The Tigers are scratching and clawing their way towards a playoff spot, and over the last two days Curtis Granderson has come out of hiding to help out in whatever way he can. I'm not sure that anyone would say that he's had an Illustrious career...
2007 UD Black #IL-GC Curtis Granderson/Coco Crisp Illustrious Dual Auto (#17/50)

...Uh, ok I guess some people were willing to make this claim in 2007, but the rest of us realize that we're watching a player who is still coming into his own.

Yesterday that meant going 3-6 with a triple, three RBIs (one on each of his three hits) and 2 Runs. The Triple the other way was this close to being a Home Run, but couldn't quite make it, meaning we were treated to a sight that has been so prevalent the last few years:
2008 Topps Finest #95 Curtis Granderson Gold Xfractor (#08/25)

By the end of the night the Tigers had pulled together a huge comeback and stayed two games ahead of the white-hot Twins. Enter Sunday's series finale in Chicago. Granderson was in the game in his customary leadoff spot when Crack
2009 Detroit News Inserts Curtis Granderson

A leadoff homerun. Sound familiar? Maybe you've heard me talk Granderson the leadoff home run machine before. Sure enough, unless I'm mistaken (we're mid-game so none of the post game stories have been written yet) Granderson now rests atop the ALL TIME list for leadoff home runs by a Detroit Tiger, with his 24th (his 28th HR of the season).

Oh, but that's not all. In case that fine moment isn't enough, his record setting home run just happened to be his 100th of his career.
2008 Topps Finest #FM-CG Curtis Granderson Finest Moments Gold Xfractor (#08/25)

I know Curtis is modest guy, but that seems like two good reasons to raise your arms up and celebrate. With his bat seemingly getting hot at the right time, we may be treated to some spectacular fall colors in Detroit, and I think that slowly but surely (and despite a lot of the negativity surrounding him this year) people will realize that Granderson is a one-of-a-kind anchor for this franchise.

2008 Topps Stadium Club Curtis Granderson Sketch Card (1 of 1)

This bounty of cards was the culmination of me getting behind schedule on scanning and posting (shocker), with these packages having trickled in over the last few months.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mail Day!

-edit- I had mistakenly credited Mark of Mark's Ephemera for this first package, but he graciously emailed me to let me know that I was mistaken. Sure enough, I looked through the comments and realized that it was Baseball Dad! So sorry!

It has been some time since a good ol' fashioned mail day, and I've actually got a backlog from a couple. The first two come from Baseball Dad, who fortunately got these cards in the mail before the Tigers came in and swept them this week. as well as reader Mike, for whom I need to find some extra Granderson cards to send his way.

Small packages both, but full of punch. They help shrink that needlist down! Baseball Dad was the first to come through on knocking off a card from my Big Ten wantlist:

Indeed, this is card #5 on the list: 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH215. I guess this means that I need to find another card to add to the list! Thank you so much! But that's not all, there were extras!

No complaints about an extra Pudge, that's for sure. Sure fire Hall of Famer? Full Catcher's Gear? Numbered Parallel? Yes, please.

In 2009 Fu-Te Ni was featured in many, many sets including this Bowman, thanks to his participation in the WBC. At the time, he was a recently signed Tigers farmhand. Since, he has been called up and been a key lefty specialist for the Tigers down the stretch. With Bobby Seay out for a while, we're going to need Ni to step up as we desperately try to stave off the Twins.

Mike sent some cards off the wantlist as well, helping to fill some ever-diminishing set holes:

A 1994 Ivan Cruz Prospects card! I can tell this guy is going to be a star.

Everybody's favorite Mustache, Tom Brookens. Here in 1981 form.

Finally, a 1983 Lance Parrish, one of the most underrated catchers of his era. Parrish was a great player for the Tigers and had a long, productive career.

Thank you to Baseball Dad and Mike for the great cards--now I need to think of something to fill in on my Big Ten list in the sidebar! More great packages to go through as well, hopefully I'll have pictures and a post ready for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pennant Race = Cards In Newspapers!

Well, the Detroit Newspapers at least. Friend of the blog Drizz, who also happens to run an extremely enjoyable blog about everybody's favorite 90's slugger with Totally Cecil--The Cecil Fielder Card Of The (every other) Day or, TCTCFCOT(EO)D as I like to call it, alerted me to new Tigers cards that would be inserted in the Detroit Papers every Tuesday, starting, well, yesterday. Day 1 was Curtis Granderson in the News and Justin Verlander in the Free Press. I'm going to make you click the link to see them, because you should really check out his blog anyway.

With this campaign in full swing, I was reminded of the time the papers last pulled this stunt--during the 2006 World Series run. Of course, I wasn't aware of it at the time, and didn't realize that the cards were 5x7 until I had them in hand, but I do, in fact, have the two Granderson cards from that year, his first full season in the majors. Strangely, I haven't shown them off on here yet, despite the fact that I've had them for at least 6 months. I think that I was trying to figure out what to do with them, or waiting for the right moment to arrive. I'm still not sure about how to store/display them, but I'd consider the moment here.

From the Detroit News:
2006 Detroit News Curtis Granderson

And the Free Press:
2006 Detroit Free Press Curtis Granderson

Now, I must say that these are pretty good offerings by the newspapers, although they fall short of the 2009 Detroit News set, in my opinion. Still, action shot from the Free Press is a nice one and I like the News close up as well. In fact, these are just the type of oddball cards that I tend to love, and I'm only put off by their abnormally large size. If they had an insert sheet of maybe 2 or 4 players with perforated edges or something--like old SI for Kids cards, or even non-perforated like a Box Bottom, then these would be absolutely killer. Call me a slave for conformity (or just someone who has certain OCD tendencies), but that would make me a happy man. As it stands instead, I've got two cool, unique pieces--and hopefully two more for 2009 once the full sets are released!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Aaaand Breathe

Sometimes you hold your breath and you don't even know it until you let out a long, satisfying exhale. You know, like yesterday when the Tigers finally escaped the Metrodome with a win for the final time. Like when you realize that 1. You never have to watch your team play in the Metrodome again, 2. That they are up 3 games in the division instead of up 1, and 3. That there is an off-day on Monday which means that not only can they not lose today, but you finally have a chance to catch your breath.

Sometimes though, the deep exhale isn't as satisfying. Instead, it is painfully slow and drawn out as if to hold back some deeper feelings. It shudders a bit as you let go, as you stretch that breath long enough to keep your composure. I've had a few too many of those this year, and today's unceremonious note of finality called them all back to mind.

Tiger Stadium is officially gone, now just another empty lot on an increasingly barren Detroit landscape. That is sad. Certainly, I'm glad to see nothing there instead of the partially demolished wreck that it has been for a few months, but it just strikes me as sad that it ended up like this. The fact that it stood there for almost a year in a miniature state, with stands running from dugout to dugout was awesome. Something could have been done with that. And while I have a million questions about what went wrong, I suppose it is time that I just let it pass on.

In fact, in a bit of perfect timing, I'll be able to preserve the stadium in my own way. Yep, this came in the mail the other day, and can be my little piece of history while others scramble for bricks and rubble:

That's a real life piece of a Tiger Stadium seat, as found in 2004 Topps. This is what baseball cards are for. Yes, I understand that relics etc. are overdone, but I mean that in a more general sense. Baseball cards are for preserving history and memories--moments in time. When I look at this card, I will recall far more than what is depicted. In fact, I never saw Al Kaline play, and have no concept of what he was like in the 1968 World Series. I do know that the blue seats shown on the card are in no way related to the seat relic in my possession. Those blue and orange plastic seats were installed in 1977, no wood seat relics there. The wood seats were actually there during the '68 series. I can picture myself walking up those tunnels only to be wrapped up in that blue stadium, and I can easily envision its majesty as an all-green canvas. It is nice to see a card that commemorates a stadium--there's really not enough recognition given to their place in history.

And while we're at it:

I also got this card on Saturday. It was a loose card that my dad found while they were clearing out my Grandpa's house. It is the single greatest hologram card that I have ever seen. A picture doesn't do it justice. I may try to take video of it, but I don't have time to figure that out tonight. So I leave you with just the picture, of a dynamic, multi-dimensional stadium that had so much life in it, even after it had been left empty for 10 years. With the last pieces now gone, cards like this are all that we have left.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Panic In Detroit

Yes, I'm listening to David Bowie, but that's not what's making me all panicky, the Tigers are doing a good enough job of that on their own. The Tigers only have to play one more game in the Metrodome EVER. Thank the good lord. However, does any Tigers fan feel anything but impending doom? I'm holding the faith, but it is ever so tenuous. Suffice to say, we need these guys to take matters into their own hands, end of story.

2008 Sweet Spot #QS-OCVG Ordonez/Cabrera/Verlander/Granderson

Actually, Verlander has been doing everything that he can (his line yesterday is not indicative of his otherwise solid performance). So he's off the hook (although if he wants to throw like, three no hitters in his next three starts, that would be cool). Guillen, you can take his spot.

2009 A Piece Of History #FM-OCGG Ordonez/Cabrera/Guillen/Granderson

Do it. Do it now.

These are some new multi-player cards that are pretty snazzy (especially the "Franchise Members" card) but I couldn't be more disgusted with the Tigers' offense over the past week, so I'm throwing these up here as a motivational tool. Hey, it's worked in the past.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

And Now, A Message From Hank

Have a Happy (Jewish) New Year. L'shana Tova!

For the gentiles out there, grab yourself an apple, dip it in some honey and enjoy yourselves.

On a related note, the Greenberg rookie card above is a buy it now for $3,500 in case you're interested. I was shocked (shocked!) to find that I have zero Hank Greenberg cards in my collection, even with his inclusion in sets this decade. I'll have to fix that.

Friday, September 18, 2009

This Just In: I Saw Red

How does a quick Friday post sound? Good? Good.

2008 Topps Heritage High Numbers #ROA-CG Curtis Granderson Red Ink (#47/59)

Sometimes, you just need to treat yourself, which is exactly what I did when this card showed up on eBay and was sitting well below its historical pricing averages. I threw in a bid and snapped it up. I've talked about this before, but for the Granderson collector, 2008 Heritage (and Heritage High Numbers) is an outstanding set. Not only do the cards look great but they have that wonderful vintage-y, thick cardstock. The Red Autograph here is certainly a highlight. It matches up so well with the red of the card, and the hand numbering seals the deal.

When push comes to shove, and I'm flipping through my autographed Granderson cards, it will be items like this that stand the test of time, pushing sticker-bound and ultra-shiny competitors to the wayside.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Curtis Granderson On The Trading Block?

If you were to read this headline in today's paper, who would you guess was the author:

Curtis Granderson's Stock Might Be Slipping

If you guessed Lynn Henning, you would be correct. Now, for the non-Tigers fans among us, Lynn Henning has spent the season with a baffling fascination for the relative failure of Curtis Granderson and has pitched the possibility that Granderson will be traded this offseason time and time again.

Shut up. Lynn Henning is fast becoming to the Detroit Tigers what Michael Rosenberg has become to the University of Michigan and Rich Rodriguez.

Since it is early in the morning and I am eating breakfast, I'm not going to go into a rant and use tons of supporting evidence etc. and instead just pose this question:

Why would the Tigers trade Curtis Granderson?

Let me elaborate. He is 28 years old, known in baseball terms as "entering his prime." He has had a weird, and kind of rough season with his batting average taking the biggest hit. Well, he's also about the set career highs in walks. He has struggled against lefties, no doubt, but in that 2007 season when everybody in the world was on the Granderson bandwagon, he only hit .160 against lefties. As the Ink Stained blog pointed out last week, Ryan Howard hits just .199 against lefties. Grady Sizemore goes .216, and Carlos Pena hits .211. I'm not saying that as a point of defense, but rather that it is hard to write off a player entirely because he can't hit left-handed pitching, especially when he showed signs of improvement one year ago (.259 against LH pitching), and especially when he was anointed as the next great thing two years ago. Regression is ok, if there is improvement in the future--and there is no reason to think that Granderson can't improve.

So, apart from those factors--you know, the ones that indicate that Granderson is still a very good player with a rather lofty ceiling, we can also look at the reason players get traded in the first place. Money.

Tell me, what would you gain by trading Curtis Granderson?

I'm seeing a best case scenario in which you get some prospects, one of which hopefully ends up being Curtis Granderson. Are you with me? Curtis is making $3.5 Million this year. FanGraphs tells us that even in this odd season, with a lower than normal batting average, poor splits and elevated strikeouts, he has been worth $14.4 Million to the team. With salaries that elevate to $5.5 Million in 2010, $8.25 Million in 2011, $10 Million in 2012 and a $13 Million option in 2013, Granderson--if he continues to play as he had this year, which most can agree is below his capabilities in many respects (and Granderson's own self-admission), he will outplay the value of his contract for its duration.

Now, I can see a salary dump scenario in a few years, but the idea of trading Granderson this offseason is patently absurd. It would fit somewhere on the spectrum between malicious malpractice and franchise-destroying. It is not easy to find a good center fielder. Just ask Chad Curtis or Brian Hunter. Or Roger Cedeno, or Alex Sanchez. Or Nook Logan.

Thinking about trading Granderson at this point in his career is a fool's errand. It's akin to taking on all the risk and little of the reward from signing a long-term contract. For Henning to repeatedly bring up this idea suggests that he is either sick and tired of everyone fawning over Grandrson, or that he, like many of us, is frustrated by this year's inconsistency from a player that we all expected to get better every year. Welcome to the club, Lynn. Yes, Granderson needs to be a rock in the lineup and on more than one occasion has failed to come through. But this is baseball. It happens. Sometimes people have down years.

Just for a bit of fun.

1959 .327 BA .410 OBP .940 OPS 27 HR 94 RBI
1960 .278 BA .354 OBP .781 OPS 15 HR 68 RBI
1961 .324 BA .393 OBP .909 OPS 19 HR 82 RBI

Kaline Over The Hill, Trade for Orioles' ROY Hanson Makes Sense
Lynn Henning
28 September 1960

It has been a strange year for Tigers Right Fielder Al Kaline. After storming onto the scene in '53 and winning a batting title at the tender age of 20, it is starting to look like the 6-time All Star may be starting to see the effects of being rushed to the major leagues. With career lows in every major offensive category, you have to wonder if Kaline's potential trade value has taken a hit as the Tigers decide to cash in their chips for some highly touted prospects. Kaline has struggled all year, not hitting higher than .235 in any month until now, not counting the 9 games he played in April. While a hot August and September has boosted the once-fearsome Tiger's batting average, you can't help but wonder if the Tigers would be wise to send Kaline back to his hometown in exchange for one or more of Baltimore's prized rookie pitchers.


Simply said, this hasn't been the season that the Tigers needed out of their veteran star. At age 25, the organization needs to ask itself if they were lucky enough to catch lightning in a bottle, or if Kaline's career peaked early and it is time for the team to sell high while they still can. With the opportunities on the trade market, it would be silly for the team not to take a look.

Geez, no wonder "in the mid-1960s Kaline grew bitter about some of the negative press he was receiving in Detroit, where they felt he should be doing more to bring a title to the town. He even talked openly of being traded." Good to see that Henning lives up to the proud tradition of the Detroit media criticizing its local stars (don't get me started on their poor treatment and later, silence, on how unbelievable Miguel Cabrera has been in Detroit so far. This guy is a STAR and he's gets less press than Tony Clark.)

Granderson is no Al Kaline (Kaline was only 25 in 1960 and a 7 year MLB Veteran!), but sometimes people have down years. It doesn't make any sense to make silly moves because of one year, and there is no doubt in my mind that everyone in the Tigers organization is aware of that. Time to get up to speed, Mr. Henning.


With all of the bitching that teams and fans do about the World Baseball Classic, is it possible that Granderson's inclusion in that tournament stunted his preparation for the year and has kept him from improving? He has stated that he has felt uncomfortable all year, and (HR not withstanding) has shown it in his at-bats. Is it unreasonable to claim that by going into competitive game mode so early in the season and missing out on spring training at-bats and instruction, that his ability to get into a groove was hampered? I'm not sure, and it is hard to say that given that he has had a full season to improve, but I'm guessing that it is hard to make adjustments on the fly (aka during the season) when you're still a young player and facing new pitching every night and focusing so much on winning games. Just a thought.

The cutoff man blog on is on the case as well. Granderson trade talk is way premature at best, foolish nonsense at worst. Nice to see that I'm not alone in this.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ultimate Checklist: 2009 Topps Magic Michigan Wolverines

Remember that time I said that I might have non-baseball cards on the site? Bam:

Topps Magic, which was released a number of weeks ago is a football card set that occupies a niche that has been rather unexplored recently. All the cards are of players in their college football uniforms, with no mention of the professional ranks. For me, there couldn't be a more appealing idea. I don't care about pro football. I mean, I'll watch it, and root for things here and there and bemoan the futility of the Lions and wish them well and be secretly upset when they lose, but I am a college football guy. I was born and raised in Ann Arbor. I went to Michigan. My blood bleeds blue.

So, in recognition of a set that I am eversoclose to pulling the trigger on eBay for, I give you the Ultimate Checklist of the Michigan Wolverines in 2009 Topps Magic.

Now, before I get to the list, there is something to note. Every card in the base set has a mini parallel, a mini black parallel and an autographed parallel. That's right. Every card is autographed. I can't decide if that is really cool or not, but it is what it is. Not all autographs were made the same though, as some are more limited than others. For the short-printed autographs, their print runs will be in parentheses. No parenthesis, no short print. Got it? Okay:

Base Set
141 Adrian Arrington
142 BJ Askew (Auto/100)
143 Jason Avant (Auto/150)
145 Tom Brady (Auto/25)
146 Steve Breaston
147 Braylon Edwards (Auto/25)
148 Leon Hall (Auto/100)
150 Mike Hart (Auto/150)
151 Chad Henne (Auto/150)
152 Drew Henson (Auto/100)
153 Steve Hutchinson (Auto/25)
154 Marlin Jackson SP (Auto/150)
155 Ty Law (Auto/100)
156 Mario Manningham (Auto/150)
157 LaMarr Woodley (Auto/150)

Alumni Inserts
AD-BE Tom Brady & Braylon Edwards "Alumni" (Auto/25)
AT-LBE Ty Law, Tom Bradey, Braylon Edwards "Alumni Autographs Triple" (/25)

Magic Thrills Inserts
MT4 2005 Rose Bowl (Vince Young)
MT6 2000 Rose Bowl (Tom Brady)
MT19 2009 Capital One Bowl (Mike Hart)

I guess getting repeatedly crushed at the hands of USC doesn't make for a good card. I remember all of those bowl games vividly, including the incredible 2005 Rose Bowl that Michigan lost on a last second field goal by Dusty Mangum--one of the greatest Texas names you'll ever see. Just throwing it out there, but Steve Breaston could have been on that card, seeing as how he set a Rose Bowl record for All Purpose Yards in that game. I guess it pays to win though. The other two cards--the OT win vs. Alabama (on a missed extra point!) and the unexpected crushing of Florida in Lloyd Carr's last game both bring back the happy memories.

Back to the base set-- you're telling me that all but two of the autographed versions are short printed? Hmm...well that would be a fun set to try and compile. In case you were curious, here's what the autographs look like.

Of course, that is the simple formula of base card + sticker. Not to say that I have a major problem with that, and I think that an all-autographed set would be really awesome, it would just be too hard and expensive to pull off. I've heard that some guy named Brady commands a pretty penny (as of this moment, Braylon Edwards is sitting just shy of $80 as well).

In case it wasn't obvious, I'm a big fan of this set. I mean, how could you not like a set with Pittsburgh's resident destroyer in full winged helmet?

However, this is not a great set. There is a reason that I haven't sacrificed $12 or so to get all of my Michigan favorites. That reason, of course, is that they are missing some of the favorites. Why is BJ Askew in this set? He was a bit player at Michigan. Decidedly NOT football card worthy. Neither is Drew Henson, who despite being incredible at Michigan (and incredibly well loved) he was such a total bust at LIFE that we don't want to associate ourselves with him. This is certainly not the case where a great college player washes out but he's still a hero back in the college town. Nope. We have real heroes, thank you. Stay out of my football cards.

Glaring (GLARING) omissions are twofold: Charles Woodson and 2008 #1 pick Jake Long. Henne and Hart are in the set, why isn't Long? He was awesome. The omission of Charles Woodson borders on malpractice. He is the most beloved Michigan football player of all time. He has had a great career and is a borderline Hall of Fame candidate. Sure, you could have thrown in players like Larry Foote (Steelers, Lions in 2009), Prescott Burgess (Ravens), or World Traveler Extraordinaire Dhani Jones, but leaving those two out really undermines the set for me.

That said, with football season gearing up, I might only be a win over (much hated) Notre Dame from picking up the 2009 edition of these cards. If all goes well, may their 2010 edition be fruitful and multiply, with some more of Michigan's 31 (!) NFL players next time.

Go Blue!

Just In Case You've Got These Lying Around...

I added a little item to the sidebar just now: It is a list of my Top 10 wants. By no means does it replace my wantlist, also in the sidebar, but is meant to point out some single cards that I've been looking for, or that could help me finish up some sets. It really was a Top 10 list, but then remembered one more card, so it became a "Big 10" list...of 11.

Here it is reproduced for your convenience, and it can be found on the sidebar (below "The Trading Game") forevermore.

1. 2007 Topps #15b Andrew Miller
2. 2007 Topps U&H #TRC40 Cameron Maybin (#/415)
3. 2005 Topps Factory Set (Tiger Edition) #5 of 5 Curtis Granderson
4. 2008 Topps U&H #UH318 Kyle Farnsworth
5. 2007 Topps U&H #UH215 Ivan Rodriguez
6. 2009 Topps #CBR-MO Magglio Ordonez "Career Best"
7. 2009 Topps #CBA-GS Gary Sheffield "Career Best"
8. 2009 Topps #CBDR-HC Miguel Cabrera/Ryan Howard
9. 2007 Topps #GN285 Justin Verlander Generation Now (#3)
10. 2008 Topps Miguel Cabrera Home Run Derby Contest /999
11. 2008 Topps Gary Sheffield Home Run Derby Contest /999

If you happen to have any of those just lying around, know that there is a warm binder page waiting for them over here!

6 in 30 from the Granderson Binder

At the start of this week, just as I was heading out of town, I realized that I could spare a quick 30 seconds to give Dinged Corners' great 6 in 30 idea a try.

Step one was to figure out which binder to use. I've got a Topps Tigers Binder from 1980-1999 (with some older cards thrown in), another one from 2000-2009, a Topps Gold Binder, and a Misc. sets binder with things like A&G, Heritage and Goudey. My Granderson cards used to share this binder, but as of two weeks ago, they were given their own dedicated binder. Once I thought about it, it seemed like the decision was obvious. So now I give you 6 cards pulled in 30 seconds from my brand new Curtis Granderson binder.

2006 Upper Deck #174 Curtis Granderson Special F/X Red (#12/50)

This is one of my all-time favorite Granderson cards, because of the close-up, over the shoulder angle on the card. I also really liked the 2006 Upper Deck design, and it was the Tigers' World Series year to boot. The base card had a number of parallel versions of which this was one, and the color-saturated special f/x effect is really neat. I especially like the red stamped serial number. Of course, it is no surprise that I picked this card first out of the binder--it is the basis of my little "Grand Cards" icon after all.

2008 UDX X-CG Curtis Granderson "Xponential"

Oh, I've talked about this card before. It is outstanding. (So good that Upper Deck re-used the picture for 2009 Goudey.)

2008 Topps Finest #FM-CG Curtis Granderson Blue Refractor (#149/299)

I've found myself drawn to Topps Finest recently, as I really like the Granderson card that they've put out. In 2008, the year after Granderson's 20-20-20-20 season, they had a base card, but also this "Finest Moments" insert. This is another of my favorite Granderson shots, and I think that the blue refractor just lets this card shine.

2008 Allen & Ginter #RC11 Curtis Granderson Rip Card (#39/75)

I got this sucker in a trade with Duane from Democratic Roadkill some time back, and absolutely love it. This is A&G taken to the max. It is so good, that I don't even care that there is a huge rip in the back of the card. Not important--look at that front! To quote myself when I wrote about it originally:

It looks the the Union Army was using Granderson to take out Confederates by hitting baseballs into a valley to pick them off one-by-one and he is looking into the distance as his most recent hit approaches its unsuspecting victim.

Yeah it does.

2009 Allen & Ginter Curtis Granderson Silk (#4/10)

A brand new, heretofore unshowcased on this blog card, also from Allen & Ginter. It is silk. It has a shiny, fancy frame. It is numbered to 10 copies and it is undeniably awesome. For no good reason, I think that silk cards are fantastic. I think it is the texture that it adds to the picture--I'm tired of things that are too shiny, I want some gritty authenticity. Certainly, a silk card wouldn't meet that criteria, but I feel like we're only a step away from "Topps Burlap" or "Topps Birch Bark" or something like that (or Topps Canvas, which would really make the most sense). Look at the world's great masterpieces and there is one consistent theme--texture. I'm just saying.

2008 UD Goudey #69 Curtis Granderson Red Back Mini

I was running out of time here, and was actually trying to grab the black mini, which I like better, but I'm missing a light above my desk so it was kind of dark and I mixed up the blue and black in my last second grab. I really do like this card a lot--I think that it is among the best of 2008 Goudey, but I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't muster one or two more binder page flips to see if I liked something from 2009 better, but when I thought about it later, I'm really not sure that I do.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And Another Thing

Brian Roberts hit his 50th double of the season yesterday. Are you kidding me? He has 50 doubles. Meanwhile Curtis Granderson has 52 extra base hits--TOTAL. Miguel Cabrera, the team leader with 59 XBHs, is the only other player with more than 50. The radio on the way to work told me that the only other players to have hit for 50 doubles three times or more in their careers were Hall of Famers Tris Speaker, Paul Waner and Stan Musial. That is certainly some elite company.

Consider that the end of my random musings for the moment. I meant to include that in today's earlier ramblings but forgot. Now back to regularly scheduled programming.

Radio Silence and Random Thoughts

So, I just got back from two internetless days in beautiful Knoxville, TN, a statement that I meant to write just drenched in sarcasm until I found out that actually, Knoxville was quite nice. Ironically, a productive business trip like the aforementioned means that things are even busier now that I am back in the office, but I thought that I'd take a moment to explain my radio silence of the last few days and speak out on a few things that have been on my mind.

1. Jeter is getting the crazy media love at the moment for tying Lou Gehrig's all-time Yankee Hit record of 2721. Is this as shocking to me as it is to everyone else? No, not that Jeter is tying that record, but that there have been NO 3,000 HIT YANKEES?! You would think that with all the tradition and hall of famers and unreal history of the Yankees, that they would have somebody with 3,000 hits. Now, I know that some of you will say "yeah, but they've had people with 3,000 hits on their team, they just didn't get all of their hits in New York." Ok, fine. But free agency was really a product of the 80's, and I am blown away that there haven't been any people who even got the majority of their 3,000 hits in New York. Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield. That's it. None of the greats, in the way that you would think of romanticized Yankee Greats. I just find this very surprising.

2. The Tigers toy with our souls by winning six straight, seeming to grab the division by the horns and then losing two to the Royals. I have so many comments that they go around 360 degrees and leave me with a "no comment." Just win the games you're supposed to win, dammit.

3. This is a baseball card blog, but with my extreme excitement over the college football season, I may sneak in a few college football cards here and there. This will likely be once-in-a-blue moon, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

3a. Speaking of which, I am actually extremely excited that Upper Deck will be producing NCAA cards next year. I would love to start an all-Michigan collection with some of the school's great current and former athletes.

3b. Speaking of which again, I caught on baseball tonight on Monday that Bobby Scales' first inning single was the Cubs 8th consecutive hit to start a game, tying a major league record. He's a Michigan guy, for those of you not making the connection on why this would be 3b.

4. Late Monday, right before I packed to leave, I did a quick 6-in-30 card pull--the ingenious little idea from Dinged Corners. I used the Granderson binder, pulled some winners and had a blast. Then, I wrote down my pulls to post on the road, didn't have internet and it was left in limbo. It will be written and posted at some point.

5. The Recession has taken its toll on this blog, but not how you would think. When I first started at the end of December, the economy was struggling. Work was slow. Blogging opportunity was ample. For those of you thinking that the economy is still in the tank, you're wrong. Things have picked up in the last 3 months and my time available for blogging has diminished considerably. Not to say that there is blog-doom on the horizon for me--that is certainly not the case--but my blogging volume may diminish, with unexplained silences and the like. For those of you that think I write too much as it is, this should make you happy.

6. Speaking of writing too much, that is something that I have not done for the Cardboard Connection. I owe them an article badly, and just haven't had the time to put something good together (see 5). Argh. There isn't enough time in the day.

7. I have had an eBay card get lost in the mail and don't know what to do. I have a tracking number that says it was delivered, but I never got it. This is very frustrating, but I am at a loss. Thoughts?

I'm sure there are more, but it is amazing what pops into your head when you don't have the chance to read and write stuff for just two days. Let me know some of your thought responses to my random thoughts if you get the chance. Normal posting should resume at some point as well. Probably tonight, maybe tomorrow morning.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Champion's Stache: #1 Tom Brookens

And so, we have reached the end of our journey. In just a few moments, I will wipe away three weeks of hard work as I attempt to make myself look something like our #1 Tiger Mustache:

1984 Topps #14 Tom Brookens

I will say, this choice was shrouded in controversy when I made it, but I am happy with the selection. Tom Brookens has the classic 80's mustache--full and strong, while showing off his wild side. I think both the action shot and the posed picture inset wonderfully showcased his selleck-esque choice.

Am I right? Ooh, Tom Selleck is nothing if not manly! (That is actually true. It was the 80's though, so grains of salt, please)

Of course '84 began the low decline of Brookens, as he was platooned with a mustached-great-to-be, a young Howard Johnson, who certainly knew his way around some facial hair as well.

In just a few years, Brookens would still have his stache, but would look decidedly uncool. Later, he would unceremoniously be listed among the 40 Most Undeserving Starting Lineup Figures of All Time (H/T to Rob Neyer's Blog). That sounds about right, actually, considering that as I kid I LOVED Starting Lineup Figures, and not only didn't I not even think about picking up a Tom Brookens, but I didn't even know that his figure existed. I do love how the description of him in the starting lineup post even mentions his killer stache. What can I say, it was his trademark of on team, like Johnny Grubb's enormous glasses, or Chris Sabo's Rec Specs.

With all that, we are left with but one thought. We'll always have 1984. At the pinnacle of mid-80's coolness, Tom Brookens stands alone on the team, as a man among mustaches. And that, is why is is number one on our list.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Champion's Stache: #2 Willie Hernandez

What more can be said about this guy than this: 1984 Cy Young, 1984 MVP.

1984 Topps Traded #51T Willie Hernandez

Oh, Guillermo. You turned out to be so much more than what we expected when the Tigers got you in a trade that brought in another follicularly endowed teammate in exchange for a great stache and another ok specimen.

If mustaches are power, you are He-Man (or for those who identify better with villainy, Hordak, at least). A great mustache fittingly fits the face of this hero of the Tigers' last World Series Championship. Pure domination. 1.92 ERA, 32 Saves, 112 Strikeouts and only 36 walks. Those were all good enough for me to give Lynn Jones the boot down from the 2 spot. I think I'm justified in that. Lynn Jones has a great stache, but he was no Willie Hernandez. He wasn't even close.

Unfortunately, despite his 1984 greatness, there was one postseason accolade that he just couldn't claim. Best mustache on the 1984 Detroit Tigers. The team that defined greatness, going 35-5 to start the season. Wire to wire champions. None of it could have happened without Willie, but our Mustache #1 takes the cake.

And that, my friends, will be revealed tomorrow.

A Champion's Stache: #3 Lynn Jones

In light of my newfound commitment to the greater good that is the collective power of Michigan fans growing mustaches for the September 5th opening game, I thought it best to recall a time 25 years ago when Mustaches led our own Detroit Tigers to their last World Series Championship

1984 Topps #731 Lynn Jones

Lynn Jones is #1. Looking through my cards from ’84, Lynn Jones was the one that stuck out in my mind. He is the reason I decided to go forward with this list—so that people could see how awesome Lynn Jones’ mustache was, and to convince myself that maybe, with some good luck and dimoxonil that I too could end up looking as great as Lynn Jones did in 1984.

But I caved to the pressure. The more I thought about the list, the more hesitant I was to place Jones at the top. I bumped him down a spot, to a respectable number 2. Then, this morning, as I thought about writing the post for my previous number 3, I realized that I just couldn’t do it. Lynn Jones was getting bumped again.

This is all not to say that a number 3 spot is something to be ashamed of. If this we’re a batting order, he’d be the most feared hitter. If it were the Olympics, he’d be on the Podium. In fact, Lynn Jones should be thanking me, as I’m sure that this is his first inclusion on any Tigers related Top-10 list, except for possibly the Top 10 Tiger Players that you don’t remember from the early 80’s. In his 8 year career, the first five of which were in Detroit, the OF fill-in DH (!) hit .252 with 7 home runs and 91 RBIs. That’s his career, people. Baseball Reference compared him to legends like Wilbur Howard, Johnny Welaj and Boots Day—who, if you remember him at all, it was not because of his batting stats.

So really, I hereby honor Lynn Jones with the #3 spot on our list. He could have been #1 (after all, he did hit .292 as a rookie, his career high), but things just didn’t work out. It turns out, all other things being equal, that baseball is about more than just the mustache. You definitely need a mustache, but even one as great as Lynn Jones’ won’t take you the distance.
Stay tuned later today and tomorrow to see why Lynn Jones may be number 1 in our hearts, but not on this list.

Addendum: As I look at this card again, I continue to question myself. That picture of Jones taking batting practice is unbelievably awesome. Should he have been number 1? Let me know your thoughts--my ability to be objective has clearly been compromised.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Champion's Stache: #4 Dan Petry

In light of my newfound commitment to the greater good that is the collective power of Michigan fans growing mustaches for the September 5th opening game, I thought it best to recall a time 25 years ago when Mustaches led our own Detroit Tigers to their last World Series Championship

Number 4 on the list. The countdown heads into high gear.

1984 Topps #147 Dan Petry

There is a reasonably good chance that I end up looking like Dan Petry on Saturday around game time. There are worse things, I suppose. Dan Petry was ahead of his time. He is sporting an excellent mustache, but one that it better suited to, say 1987 or so, than 1984--at least based on the facial hair choices of the rest of the team. Still, Dan Petry carried that mustache with him for years to come, and looked very much like a family friend of ours also named Dan--raising some suspicion on my end. Turns out he was a scientist.

Petry was the last of our 1984 Starters, all of whom have been represented in this countdown. Tell me again the mustache makes no difference. That mustache makes him look like a Man. An accomplished man which, of course, he was. Dan Petry. With a mustache like that, how could he only be #4?

You'll just have to wait and see. #3 is coming early tomorrow morning, with #2 in the evening. #1 will be saturday morning, once I've shaved and know who's Champion Stache I've channeled for myself.

Carlos Guillen Shows Off His New Headgear

Yes Virginia, even Tigers cards will be compromised.

Yesterday I talked about David Wright looking silly in his huge new helmet. It looks bad. Dinged Corners gives us the rundown on these new melon protectors and also calls into question their impact on baseball cards of the future.

Well, today things took a step back for the team closest to my heart.

I took this handy little screenshot during today's game--thank you Fox Sports Detroit. In case this isn't painfully obvious, the old helmet (I won't say traditional, because you can tell that even that one is the modified version from recent years) is on the the left. Guillen wore it on Wednesday. On the right side is the new helmet.

Here, let me bring you in for a closer look:

What's that, still didn't get it? Let me simplify that for you:

In fact, during the broadcast, Rod pointed out that Guillen looked like the Great Gazoo, at which point Mario said that he was thinking the exact same thing. And its true. He does.

Meanwhile, Wright, perhaps shamed by his ridiculous helmet from the night before, opted for the two flap look yesterday.

This is, in my opinion, a million times better. This is the exact same enormous helmet, but with a second ear flap. Now Wright just looks like everybody that plays baseball up until the Minor leagues. Single Flap S100 = ridiculous looking mess, Double Flap equals OK. Now, the site where I keep pulling these Wright pictures from is called "The Fightins", which is about the Phillies. I don't know how I keep ending up on that site. However, I will say that even the Flyin' Hawaiian isn't immune to the look:

The unabashedly pro-phillies crowd said that this looks just fine. Wrong. These single flap helmets are a disaster.

Now, I understand safety, namely the desire for greater amounts of it, but these helmets look really absurd. I'm sure that we'll get used to them if they end up being required, but really, how can we respect our great heroes of the game if they look like characters from Wii Baseball or Virtua Fighter Kids? There must be a better way. Won't somebody please think of the baseball cards?

Ultimate Checklist: 2002 UD Prospect Premieres

Grand Gallery: Hey! Snagged a picture to round out the full set. Gallery First, original post to follow. No commentary in between!

#14 Curtis Granderson
#17a Curtis Granderson ERR Matt Pender
Quads #4 Crain/Grant/ Gomes/Granderson (#/600)
Quads #16 Johnson/Crain/ Greenberg/Granderson (#/600)

It has been a little while since I pulled one of the these posts out. Meanwhile, I'm yet again a day behind on my mustache posts, I currently look like Bruce Sutter, and I'm contemplating whether I'm going to look like Dave Bergman or Ruppert Jones on Saturday (or anything close to either, if I'm lucky). So, while I will do my best to catch up with #4 and #3 tonight, I thought that it would be nice to get back to basics for a moment.

2002 UD Prospect Premieres is my favorite set for Granderson rookie cards. Now, I know that Bowman Chrome Draft is home of the "best" Granderson cards, and that regular Bowman Draft is the poor man's substitute. Topps 206 is also out there, and will be the next Ultimate Checklist set that I profile if I can ever get more Granderson cards from that release.

In the middle is the outlier, the non-topps set, the one that actually uses a different picture.

2002 UD Prospect Premieres #14 Curtis Granderson "Future Gems"

That's right faux-action shot! This card, the definitive rookie for Granderson from Upper Deck is my favorite of all of his offerings. I've never been one for traditional posed shots, and even though this is just a practice shot, or even a posed photo shoot, I really like it. Add to that the fact that you don't really ever get "lead off" shots--you get plenty of running and sliding and base stealing but very few lead-offs--that it creates an appropriate metaphor. This is where it starts. The Rookie card is the lead off that ultimately leads to an All Star career full of baseball cards of stolen bases and home runs and the like.

But wait, there's more!
2002 UD Prospect Premieres #17A Curtis Granderson ERR Matt Pender

Ultra-rare Error card worth millions! Or, not. Bonus points for this card showing Granderson and naming somebody else and not the other way around. Believe it or not, I even like this card more than the Bowman/Topps sets. I think it is the traditional jersey and not that odd blue batting practice thing. Tigers uniforms are baseball's tuxedos, and you just can't look bad in them. So, card B is not as good as his true rookie card, but it is pretty solid nonetheless.

And that alone would make this set the winner of the Granderson rookie card sweepstakes, but it gets even better.
2002 UD Prospect Premieres Future Gems Quads #4 Crain/Grant/Gomes/Granderson (#341/600)

What have we here?! I just got this card a few weeks ago, thinking that it would be a four-in-one card the way that you see it in 2009 Goudey, for example. Uh, no. This card is enormous. In fact, it is the size of four cards put together on on one uncut sheet and then primitively numbered in the middle by a computer from 1982. Apart from the fact that I have no idea how to store or display this, it is great. I'm always one for adding variation to my collection. Downside is that it repeats the regular rookie card picture, upside is that said picture consists of aforementioned career metaphor.

These cards are rather hard to come by, despite being numbered to 600, and there is one other one out there waiting to be found:

Future Gems Quads #16 Johnson/Crain/Greenberg/Granderson

And with those four cards, we have the entirety of 2002 UD Prospect Premiers, an easy and cheap way to pick up any Granderson rookie card.